President Ilves supports the establishment of the International Museum for the Victims of Communism in Tallinn, 28. February 2020

Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the former President of Estonia and a visiting fellow at Stanford University, supports the establishment of the International Museum for the Victims of Communism and the accompanying research centre in former Patarei Prison, Tallinn. He encourages all Estonians and Estonia’s friends to join him in supporting the initiative, to preserve the true history of the crimes of totalitarian regimes for generations to come. 

Toomas Hendik Ilves.

Full statement:

I wish to congratulate the board and staff of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory for their work to successfully establish an exhibition about the crimes committed by communist regimes and the Soviet and German occupations of Estonia inside the former Patarei Prison, and for reaching over 36,000 visitors in 2019.

As the history of Estonia and its neighbours face the growing threat of malign manipulation and distortion, the need to support trustworthy historical research into totalitarian regimes of the 20th century and defend the historical truth, is becoming ever more critical.

As one of the founders of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, I am confident that this Institution, by remaining committed to the integrity of science and independent of partisan political debates, will help keep history safe from attempts to rewrite it.

The walls of Patarei bear witness to one of the darkest periods in our history. There are few places more appropriate through which to educate the world about the crimes committed during the German and Soviet occupations in Estonia, and indeed in all the nations of Central and Eastern Europe with whom we share this tragic past. The memory of the millions of victims of both communist and national socialist regimes will be safeguarded inside its walls.

Once complete, the museum and research centre in Patarei will stand alongside the premiere history museums in Europe and as a monument to the resilience of our people and to the triumph of freedom.

I encourage all Estonians, as well as the friends and allies of Estonia around the world, to join me in supporting this important initiative, to preserve and guard this history for generations to come.